My colleagues and I often care for patients suffering from hallucinations, prophesying, and claiming to speak with God, among other symptoms—in mental health care, it’s sometimes very difficult to tell apart religious belief from mental illness…. Our conclusions frequently stem from the behaviors we see before us. Take an example of a man who walks into an emergency department, mumbling incoherently. He says he’s hearing voices in his head, but insists there’s nothing wrong with him. He hasn’t used any drugs or alcohol. If he were to be evaluated by mental health professionals, there’s a good chance he might be diagnosed with a psychotic disorder like schizophrenia. But what if that same man were deeply religious? What if his incomprehensible language was speaking in tongues?
[Boris] Johnson’s belief that Britain would continue to have a seat at the European table after Brexit suggested a profound ignorance not just of his country’s future but of its entire postwar past. This ignorance is not stupidity — Johnson is genuinely clever and, as his fictional alter ego Barlow shows, quite self-aware. It is the studied carelessness affected by a large part of the English upper class whose manners and attitudes Johnson — in reality the product of a rather bohemian bourgeois background — thoroughly absorbed. Consequences are for the little people, seriousness for those who are paid to clean up the mess.BACK TO TOP